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The venue at the heart of an explosion outside an Ariana Grande concert that left 19 dead and at least 50 injured is one of the top-grossing venues in Europe and host to dozens of major pop concerts annually.
Manchester Arena is managed by SMG, one of the largest public facility management companies in the world with over 230 arenas, stadiums and convention centers under contract. The arena is the second highest-grossing venue in the U.K. and the fourth highest-grossing in the world, according to Pollstar’s 2016 year-end report. Built in 1995, the 21,000-seat arena is one of the only arenas in Europe to offer a full 360-degree stage configuration, making it the largest indoor arena in the U.K. and the second largest in the European Union. It’s an extremely busy venue for the U.K.’s third-largest city and has hosted concerts by nearly every pop star on the planet. This Friday, the arena is set to host three concerts by Take That, followed by Kiss (May 30), Celine Dion (June 25) and Lady Gaga (Oct. 17).
The building’s general manager is James Allen, who’s been at the building since 2013. Manchester Arena is a flagship account for SMG in Europe and the base for management operations of its two other arenas in Leeds and Newcastle. For Live Nation, AEG Presents and European promoters, it’s a must-play venue known for hosting huge pop stars from Europe and the U.K. It’s also the future home of the 2020 Commonwealth Games and hosted everything from Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts to WNBA basketball exhibitions.
The Ariana Grande tour was being promoted by Live Nation, which issued a statement shortly after the blast, reading, “We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident.” Grande is represented by Rob Light at CAA and managed by Scooter Braun. Grande had been touring North America and Europe since February, kicking off her Dangerous Woman tour Feb. 3 at Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix with 37 dates in North America, before landing in Sweden on May 8 to kick off the European leg of her tour. Prior to Manchester, she had performed at 3Arena in Dublin.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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